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University of California - San Diego
Making of the Modern World
MMW 13
Edmond Chang

Outline Lecture Six—Trade Networks in WestAfrica Key Focus: 1) What stimulated trade in WestAfrica before the European intervention? 2) What was the extent of wealth and influence in WestAfrican kingdoms? I) TheAdvent of the Trans-Saharan Trade --a) Pre-5th century Scenario trades were small scale and were localize salt, south of Saharan region agricultural products --b) Transport Breakthrough in 5th century trades were slow and unfrequent because most of them rely on packs oxen revolution camel profound impact( frequency and extend of the trade) ----i) The Camel Revolution travel twice as fast and twice as far 10 days without water stand heat and cold wide feet, across snow nose--sandstorm ----ii) Berbers—Sanhaja and Taureg Norman of the Saharan desert two tribes: Sanhaja--western Saharan Taureg--important to support what sides --c) The Mediterranean-Sahel Link seen as an ocean, a shore of the desert--Sahel include grassland, jungles ----i) Network of “littoral” cities on the Sahel—Timbuktu, Gao, Djenne, Kumbi- Saleh along the Sahel--littoral cities Kumbi-Saleh----capital of Gana kingdom active trade----because of introduction of the camel and prominent role of the Berbers established a much closer connection betweenmediterranean region and Sub- SaharanAfcica growth of trade---emgrence ofAfrica kingdom (10th--14th c) II) The First West African Kingdom—Ghana (10 th to 12 th centuries) --a) Historical Background dont go to mordern Ghana ----i) The heart of the Sahel (show map) salt was important, control salt then control political power corner ofAfrica at the edge of the desert but had acess to some of the areas to the south which were important for the production of gold ----ii) Soninke People with capital at Kumbi Saleh found Ghana kingdom and rule it Kumbi Saleh located on the edge of the desert, give them more access to the Berber normans--bring salt and take agricultural products back also access to iron tool and weapons as well as horses---gain more prominent hand ----iii) Conduit of trade Soninke people became middle man between merchant coming from the north, gold produced from the south took full adventage to it --b) The Gold Trade ----i) Stability provided by Islam in 8th and 9th centuries convert of Berbers to Islam--gain religious coherence, cultural coherence tribes--brotherhood, brought great security, facilitation of trade, merchant could travel with great sense of ease increase of gold from the south to the mediterranean region Islam established a bureaucracy in the western part of northAfrica bureaucracy--brought greater demand for gold---empire needed gold that melt into coins ----ii) Ghanaians’position as “middle-men” in salt and gold trade prominent and wealth of Ghanaian region--demend for gold effective to establish themselves as middle-men of the trade channel from one place-- Kumbi-Saleh--chort place? all the salt must go through Kumbi-Saleh, and charge one D for every load coming in, charge two D for going out gold restriction--all gold nuggets belongs to the king, only gold dust could be traded middle-men kept the secret of the gold field, otherwise, their role as mid
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